SA becomes ‘Student Government Association’

By Dan Doren

DeKALB — The SA will be adding a ‘G’ between its initials, as the Senate approved a resolution Sunday to change the name from Student Association to Student Government Association.

SA Vice President Kevin Schaeffer will be responsible for amending the SA’s bylaws to reflect the name change.

This change coincides with the SA Senate’s move from the Campus Life Building, Room 190 to the Holmes Student Center, which is set for Dec. 6, Speaker Ian Pearson said.

Pearson said he’s excited about the name change, the SA’s first since 1968, and the reception on campus has been positive.

“There’s been a lot of buzz about this,” he said. “I’ve had professionals in Student Affairs, as well as some other divisions on campus, say, ‘We really like this idea. We think this will do wonders for the organization in terms of visibility [and] conveying [its] mission.’”

The SA logo and graphics will also be updated to complement the name change, according to the resolution.

New senators

The SA Senate has recruited two senators-at-large with aspirations of making the NIU community more environmentally friendly. Each was sworn in immediately upon approval.

Dallas Douglass, junior anthropology major, listed environmentalism as one of his priorities and said he would like to see the university take steps toward composting.

Douglass said moving in the direction of composting would be difficult due to the problems such as odor and storage, but he maintained his goal could be achieved through collaboration.

“At this current moment, I don’t have any specific ideas,” he said. “However, I do have a lot of background knowledge in environmentalism and composting. I have connections … to organizations that can provide those tangible plans for composting.”

In addition to environmental issues, Douglass talked about creating opportunities for civic engagement between the student body and DeKalb community by hosting events on campus.

“We have a lot of unused spaces on campus and just a lot of space in general,” he said. “So I think that that’s one really easy way that we can bring in community members, with some carefully placed advertising and word of mouth, especially in a town like this.”

Cristian Hernandez, junior French and Francophone studies major, said composting would be an eco-friendly way to dispose of food scraps, although he said he has since changed his mind about the idea of starting a compost drop-off after sitting in on a meeting with the environmental affairs committee.

“That was my original idea as to how I could help the student body,” he said. “But that is not really efficient, and I’m … ready to learn a more efficient way.”

Hernandez said he wants to make recycling more accessible to students living off campus. He introduced the idea of a drop-off or pick-up system for recyclables to serve those students and DeKalb residents.

“I find myself taking home papers and cardboard and recycling at home … an hour away,” he said. “Some sort of a drop-off for off-campus students, or even the community in general, would be really, really nice and would help this movement.”

Other business

The resolution to confirm Khiree Cross as election commissioner was reintroduced following a re-examination of the SA constitution. It failed with a vote count of 6 to 9.

During its Nov. 17 meeting, the Senate rejected Cross’ confirmation with a vote of 9 to 8 with 1 abstention.

Pearson said the way the Senate ruled on confirmations last year was based on a constitutional majority, or 50% plus one vote out of all senators present. After the Nov. 17 meeting, he learned that a simple majority, in which abstentions don’t count toward the vote total, is proper procedure for the Senate.

“Because it was such a close vote, I wanted to make sure that that was the correct procedure,” he said. “And in going back to the constitution … it’s determined that abstentions for us do not count.”

Sunday’s meeting was Executive Assistant to the Speaker Cassandra Pilcher’s last as an SA senator, as she is graduating at the end of the semester.

Pilcher will present her resolution regarding mental health awareness, which passed on Oct. 27, to the Faculty Senate during its Jan. 22 meeting.